Biodynamics in Wales!

24 09 2016

I’ve been visiting a few English vineyards lately but this week I made a foray into Wales to Ancre Hill Vineyard – just outside Monmouth to be exact. The road there hinted at a special microclimate as we passed gardens planted with the odd Palm tree and, as you can see from the photo, it’s a lush, green area and immensely pretty.

Richard Morris and his son David now have two sites with a total of 20 acres or so, planted with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, some Triomphe and a small parcel of Albarino from which he has made a few bottles of orange wine (yes you read that correctly Orange Albarino!). 

What sets this vineyard apart is that not only is it certified organic (you have to be a brave man not to spray fungicides in the humid UK climate) but it is also certified biodynamic – I only know of one or two others. David Morris has worked all over the world on organic and biodynamic estates and has built a beautiful winery with a sedum roof, straw bale construction and a straw bale filter and pond system for waste water feeding plants such as willow and comfrey that they use to spray on the vines.

The air frost at the end of April has affected yield this year and there will be less Chardonnay produced but the Pinot Noir tasted sweet and good.

I was frankly gob-smacked as I just hadn’t expected to see this sort of operation in the UK – the last five years have seen incredible developments and it’s actually really exciting to see it all bubbling up!

Tourism is an important part of the business plan with a third of sales through the cellar door.

I tasted a range of wines including the 2010 Blanc de Blancs which was very promising and a 2014 Chardonnay which had a very chiselled purity and a different style from anything I’ve had before – perhaps we’re actually seeing Monmouthshire terroir! I really liked the 2014 Rose (made almost entirely from Pinot Noir) but my favourite was the 2014 red Pinot Noir. It had an ethereal mouthwatering acidity and smoky hint.

I wish the Morris family every success in their pioneering venture and encourage anyone reading to visit and see history being made…img_5245 img_5246 img_5251 img_5256 img_5258 img_5259

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